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Toward the Unknown (1956)

Approved  |   |  Drama, History, Romance  |  October 1956 (USA)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 337 users  
Reviews: 30 user | 5 critic

At the dawn of supersonic flight in the 1950s a group of Edwards Air Force Base experimental aircraft test pilots push themselves to the limit.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Maj. Lincoln Bond
...
Brig. Gen. Bill Banner
Virginia Leith ...
Connie Mitchell
...
Col. 'Mickey' McKee
...
Maj. Bromo Lee
...
Lt. Gen. Bryan Shelby
...
Lt. Col. Joe Craven
...
2nd Lt. Sweeney
...
Polly Craven
Bartlett Robinson ...
Senator Black
...
Hank - Bell Technical Rep.
Ralph Moody ...
Harvey Gilbert
Maura Murphy ...
Sarah McKee
Carol Kelly ...
Debbie
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Storyline

USAF Major Lincoln Bond is captured, tortured and released from a POW camp in Korea. After the war he returns to the US where he is re-assigned as a test pilot at the Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base. The Air Force is testing the new experimental aircraft Gilbert XF-120 fighter. The acceptance of the new aircraft by the Air Force is dependent on successful tests designed to prove the aircraft's reliability and safety. However, when Major Bond flies the prototype he encounters a problem that points out a dangerous structural flaw. This could threaten the aircraft's acceptance by the Air Force and derail the whole project. Major Bond's commanding officer and some of his colleagues start to suspect that Major Bond is imagining things because of his mental condition dating back to his imprisonment and torture in the Korean POW camp. Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

THE SCREEN HAS NEVER SHOWN WHAT YOU'LL SEE IN TOWARD THE UNKNOWN (original print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

October 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Einst kommt die Stunde  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(WarnerColor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The "Gilbert XF-120" is actually the prototype Martin XB-51, an unsuccessful tactical bomber design. See more »

Goofs

Early in the film when Bond observes General Banner crash his aircraft, it's referred to as an "F-102". In reality the hulk that Banner is pulled from is a Convair XF-92, the experimental predecessor to the F-102 Delta Dagger. See more »

Quotes

Brig. Gen. Bill Banner: [to Maj. Lincoln Bond] Even with torture, you're not the kind to crack.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Story of Esther Costello (1957) See more »

Soundtracks

The U.S. Air Force
by Robert Crawford
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User Reviews

 
Excellent Period Piece
22 March 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This film has excellent performances by Holden and some of the other actors, but the real stars are the extraordinary research airplanes of the Air Force Flight Test Center in 1955-56, when the film was made. There is superb inflight footage of the Martin XB-51 (which is painted up as the "F-120" fighter), and outstanding footage of the Bell X-2 rocket research airplane, as well as footage of the rare TF-86 (only two were made), a two-seat version of the famed F-86 Sabre jet fighter. For "real" the X-2 in 1956 reached an altitude of 126,200 feet flown by Captain Iven "Kinch" Kincheloe, and Mach 3.2 (2,196 mph) by Captain Milburn "Mel" Apt. Both were advisers on the film. Apt died in the crash of the X-2 on 27 Sept. 1956, the same flight on which he reached M = 3.2, Kincheloe was selected as lead AF pilot on the hypersonic X-15 program, but was killed in 1958 in the crash of a Lockheed F-104. Incidentally, Holden was flown in a high-performance airplane for familiarization purposes at Edwards for the film...not sure if it was a Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star trainer (most likely), though there is a curious photo I have seen of him in front of the TF-86, suggesting that, possibly, he was one of the (very) few non-Sabre pilots to have flown this machine...and if he did, it is possible as well that he flew faster than Mach 1, the speed of sound, as the TF-86 could clearly do so. A great film, not to be missed.


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